Friday, June 3, 2011
Somehow or other, a major university has found my blog and included me in a survey for some sort of research purposes. It wasn't entirely random, in that within the survey it referred to the blog by name, and the questions were largely about politics. More significantly, it asked about my reasons for blogging, what I hoped to accomplish: change the world or delude myself. Stuff like that. Maybe not exactly in those terms.
Before taking the survey, my first reaction was to be somewhat flattered: my little blog in a very tiny corner of the blogosphere somehow came up on someone's screen in what might be considered a serious way. Recognition, it was. Fatefully, fairly flying, the feeling of flattery fizzled fast, faded fully as I finally focused on the fateful fortune foretold in the field. Of view. It made me ask myself, not by any means for the first time, why? What's the point?
I'm not one to kid myself, or so I've convinced myself. I've never had illusions or delusions about the resonance of this blog for more than a handful of people. Mostly, I've felt that, at best, it's a release valve for my frustrations. But this time around, the questions have made me wonder if I'm accomplishing exactly the opposite. Driving myself crazy by paying attention.
Given the choice between beating my head on my keyboard and tuning it all out, pretending, as says the one magnetic ribbon that I've ever had on my car, that it's all okay, I'm starting to think the latter might be healthier. Offload my brain, drain it like a clogged sewer, let it all leak out until I've become completely uninformed, like a teabagger; except that unlike them, once I achieved the proper level of stupidity I'd STFU. (To recognize arriving at the null point, though, I'd have to hope for a certain level of self-awareness not evident in teabaggRs, as I descended into blithe ignorance.)
Really. Being informed means reading the latest stupid statement from Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin, seeing the latest cynical and destructive move by Republican leadership (and, yes, from the occasional D), recognizing that a hate-filled and pustular purveyor of perfidious putrefaction like Rush Limbaugh, that a stupid puppet like Sean Hannity, that an insane self-aggrandizing paranoiac like Glenn Beck can be considered newsworthy by the same media that follows Sarah's bus like Pavlovian pups, and can be considered legitimate opinionators by teabaggers -- by anyone! It means recognizing the descent of our political process into paralysis while our electorate succumbs to the relentless stream of propaganda from the right-wing media and to the lazy thinking that is its inevitable and already obvious result. It means living with a constant sense of dread, witnessing the glib and selfish as they destroy our country from within, in the name of lower taxes (laughing off the facts) and hatred of everyone who isn't exactly like them. Education, infrastructure, budgetary sanity, research, clean energy, health care, help for those in need: the foundations of our country, going and gone. While chanting about our exceptionalism, these people are ensuring that we'll become exceptionally inferior. Nothing short of willful and total disengagement -- certainly not blogging (but maybe drugs?) -- can possibly counter the painful effects of awareness.
I suppose I should envy people who can watch a buffoon like Beck or Bachmann, a self-centered, proudly and resolutely uninformed, grievance-peddling media whore like Palin, and be impressed. They've managed, despite all the problems we face, to have emptied their minds of all discordance, filled them back with firmly-held damn-the-facts beliefs, and closed their skulls around it like a gift-box, like homemade jams bubble-wrapped to suffer no impact from the outside world, mailed to themselves.
See what I mean? It's poison to me. It's reality, but it's poison. Saying it doesn't help. Rather than calming, the writing of it only intensifies the despair. Every day, there's more. Another display of idiocy, and another, and another. The venality of our politicians, the failures of our media, the gullibility of so many of our citizens, the laziness of thought, the selfishness of their rationalizations, the hate in their hearts.
I've given money, I'll probably give more; I've written letters, signed petitions, helped make a video about health care reform. Convinced it's even more useless and delusional, I've not grabbed a sign and marched, haven't joined organizations. So I've blogged. And now, having been asked by a presumably respectable group of people, I'm wondering why, again. I know -- I've always known -- it's meaningless in any functional sense. If there's nothing I can do that can change anything, if the mutable decay continues apace, and if sentience causes only pain, what the hell is the point?
Maybe it's time to stop caring, put down the newspapers, shut down my shiny new Macbook Pro with solid-state hard drive, and get outside more, admire beauty like this, turn everything else off until the new seasons of Dexter and Justified and Californication.